If a week is a long time in politics then it is certainly an age in the life of a thoroughbred racehorse.
Last Wednesday, Godolphin’s Emotionless underwent a workmanlike spin along Newmarket’s Rowley Mile in front of the Dubai-based operation’s chief executive John Ferguson.
Afterwards trainer Charlie Appleby suggested, not altogether convincingly, that Emotionless would be spot on for a tilt at next Saturday’s English 2,000 Guineas at the same racecourse.
On Thursday morning, the UAE’s best chance of landing the first major European Classic of the season, was taken out of the race.
“The horse has done nothing wrong in his work but I feel that he is still maturing and will be a better horse with more time,” Appleby said.
“He is an incredibly exciting horse to train but he is a horse for the second half of the season and he has a real future as a four and five-year-old when he is fully developed.
“The decision not to run is a difficult one but it is in the best interests of the horse and that is all that matters.”
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Visually, Emotionless’s run last week was hardly inspiring stuff, but according to one clocker the three year old colt posted a faster time in the final three furlongs of his workout than fellow Godolphin-owned colt Buratino, who cantered the following day and is also being aimed at the Guineas by trainer Mark Johnston.
Emotionless was also faster than Massaat, trained by rookie handler Owen Burrows for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, who is the only other realistic UAE challenger to Aidan O’Brien’s overwhelming favourite Air Force Blue.
More pressing for the Minister of Finance is the Group 2 Prix de Carthage Hannibal at Toulouse on Friday, which is the first leg of the European Purebred Arabian Triple Crown in the HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup series.
His Murraaqib showed what a rising star he could be last season when he won the Prix Kesberoy and the Arabian Trophy.
With two wins at the highest level, Friday’s assignment under Francois-Xavier Bertras may appear a drop kick, but standing in the four year old’s way is Sir Bani Yas, owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE. Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed also has Ziyadd in the eight-runner field for the 2,000-metre contest.
Sir Bani Yas was sparring with the best Purebred Arabians in Europe all last season, culminating in third place in the Purebred Arabian World Cup at Longchamp in October.
The six year old will be ridden by Jean-Bernard Eyquem, who partnered the grey son of Amer to his finest hour when scoring at Goodwood in August.
“Sir Bani Yas was fifth in this race last year but I think he is in better form than last year at the same stage of his season,” trainer Elizabeth Bernard said from her base in south-west France.
“This looks a hard race. Sheikh Hamdan has a very good horse who is very easy to ride which is a very good quality to have at this level.”
The second leg of the European Triple Crown will be staged at Duindight in Holland on June 26, while the final race will be held at Sluzeiwic in Poland on August 21.
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